HomeExclusiveExclusive: WSL APAC’s Partnership Breakdown

Exclusive: WSL APAC’s Partnership Breakdown

Exclusive: WSL APAC’s Partnership Breakdown

In an exclusive interview with Ministry of Sport’ for its ‘Brand Break’ interview series, WSL’s APAC general manager, Andrew Stark, has discussed the league’s expanding partnerships and future amidst surfing’s popularity increase.

Over the past few months, in preparation for the WSL tour’s Asia-Pacific stops, WSL Australia has been renewing and adding several new sponsors, the latest being the addition of Gold Coast property group, S. & S. Projects.

“We’ve had a really good run in terms of our commercial partners… you obviously need to have these sorts of commercial partners on board to make these events viable as they get bigger,” Stark said.

“In terms of our deals, we have renewed a lot of our existing partners like Harvey Norman, Boost Mobile, Dometic, Bond University, Oakberry, Healthway and Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and obviously RipCurl for the RipCurl Pro at Bells Beach.”

Stark said the league has also added several new partners including a new vehicle partner.

“So our new vehicle partner is GWM, but we have also added Coopers the beer, Rusty which is our new apparel partner for our Margaret River event,” Stark said.

“Finally, we have Oakley, FCS, S. & S. Projects and ‘Our Beaches.”

At events, WSL partners can expect category exclusivity, onsite and online brand activation, content creation and WSL ambassador endorsement as well as brand integration into the WSL’s events broadcasts.

Stark said surfing’s increase in popularity paired with a demand for high quality events has catalysed the league’s need for new partners.

“For us, we want to run sustainable events, and these events are expensive to run,” Stark said.

“They’re high-level events which require quality broadcasts and cost a lot of money; hence we need adequate partnership to run these events in a sustainable financial model.”

Surfing’s sudden popularity increase can be attributed to people going through lockdowns and surfing’s integration into Olympics.

“There’s a lot of factors at play here that are continuing to lead to the point that there’s a growing interest in sport and the World Surf League,” Stark said.

“With more stability and the borders opening up, what we do know is that surfing as a sport and lifestyle has absolutely exploded in terms of interest and we’re starting to see the benefits of that in terms of the partners wanting to be associated with the WSL,” he added.

According to Stark, the WSL hopes to use the current buzz around surfing to catapult the success of its events, its recognition on the world stage, and the quality of its sponsors.

The WSL plans to grow its presence through its upcoming championship tour, the release of its Apple TV series, and the 2024 Olympics.

“In terms of growing our presence we are looking to really cement our championship tour schedule,” Stark said.

“Based off of last year, we know our product and the way we roll out the tour works well so we’re hoping to see the benefits of this over 2022.”

Stark said the league is hoping its Apple TV series will follow a similar success story to the F1’s ‘Drive to Survive’ series.

“In terms of what they (F1) have done with ‘Drive to Survive’ there’s a direct correlation between an increase in the league’s broadcast audiences, general interest, and social engagement following the release of the series,” Stark said.

“Hopefully we will see similar results in terms of our partnership with Box to Box productions and Apple TV.”

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